Fresh Out of the Sky is a book of songs, dreams, laments, narratives and comedies intertwined with passages about major life changes involving country, identity and belonging. It is about perpetually standing at the edge of change, anticipating it, reflecting on it and dreaming about it. The title sequence of the book returns to the terza rima theme of memory, following sequences in his earlier books, such as those about early Budapest childhood explored in Reel, and about growing to adulthood in England in An English Apocalypse. Here the theme is arrival in England as a child in 1956.
These are wound around poems set in the aftermath of war, upheaval, and life in contemporary England as tracked by a series of dreamlike reports from the Covid bunkers we have been inhabiting. Covid poems run through the collection like a thread holding the book – and indeed the condition of England – together. The thread embraces the second part of The Yellow Room, a continuing poem of impossible questions about residual Jewishness experienced as a dialogue with the poet’s late father, as well as a bestiary of transformations woven through Guillaume Apollinaire and Graham Sutherland. The book ends on occasions of consolation, delight and joy in the midst of darkness and uncertainty.